Kamloops flash flood damage to cost millions of dollars

The bill to clean up the damage from Wednesday's storm in Kamloops, B.C., is expected to hit several million dollars, with many homeowners left to handle the costs themselves.

Hundreds of homeowners with flooded basements may not be covered by insurance

Homeowners are cleaning up after rivers of mud washed through the streets of Kamloops on Wednesday afternoon. (deddystorz/Twitter)

The bill to clean up the damage from Wednesday's storm in Kamloops, B.C., is expected to hit several million dollars, with many homeowners left to handle the costs themselves.

About 25 mm of rain fell in 20 minutes, sending rivers of mud from the dry hill streaming though town and into many homes.

Excavators and forklifts were a common sight around Kamloops Friday morning. City crews have been working to clear out catch basins, remove debris and patch roads damaged in the storm.

Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar says the city has a preliminary price tag on the damage done to infrastructure, but costs could mount.

"Right now we are sitting at around $3 million, but that is still a very preliminary estimate and we are not even sure that is all the damage," he said.

"As things dry out there could be other things in other areas that we are currently unaware of that start to show themselves."             

Milobar says the city will be taking a look at some of the roadways, like the 10th Avenue overpass, to see how flooding could be prevented in a future storm.

He credits residents for their community spirit during what he calls "a very chaotic time."

"It is nice to see how everyone is pulling together," he said.

Hundreds of basements flooded            

Meanwhile, Mike Firlotte, the utilities manager for Kamloops says the city received close to 300 complaints of flood damage.

Many residents, Firlotte says, are still drying out their basements and dealing with damage to property. He's urging homeowners to be patient as crews get to work.

Reg Dennill, the owner of Thompson Valley Restoration, says homeowners are facing a long, expensive process ahead.

"Most of the houses we're looking at, the entire scope of the basement is affected. You're cutting the drywall off — the lower two feet — removing all the flooring.  There's a lot of furniture," he said.

"The emergency and the repair could be upwards of $30,000 to $40,000, based on the finishing of the home."

The Insurance Bureau of Canada cautions that many homeowners might not be covered by their insurance for the damage.

"It is important to note that damage as a result of sewer backup may be covered by home insurance policies, but this coverage must be purchased as an add-on," said a statement released by the bureau on Thursday.

"Damage caused by overland flooding and ground seepage is not generally covered by home insurance policies in Canada.

"Overland flooding usually occurs when bodies of water, such as rivers, dams and other watercourses, overflow onto dry land and cause damage."

The bureau urges any residents who have questions about their insurance coverage, to contact their insurance representative or IBC's consumer information centre at 1-877-772-3777 ext. 222  or online at ibc.ca.


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